Here’s my review of Elementary season four episode “The Cost of Doing Business.” Please note that this isn’t a recap of what happens. I’m assuming that you’ve already seen the episode. There are spoilers in this review.
The father/son relationship between the Holmes men was back in the spotlight in “The Cost of Doing Business.” It’s been a recurring theme this season (with John Noble as a regular cast member now) but it has fallen a bit to the wayside in the past couple episodes. This is okay since we need time to focus on other things as well, but the downside is that there feels like there are gaps in the storyline. This episode did a good job of filling in some holes and developing their strange relationship some more.
I would contend that it’s a bit odd that Sherlock would agree to help his father or accept his assistance in any way. We have seen how vocal he was been about not liking his father. But the actions of Sherlock in this episode are fascinating enough to explore this. Jonny Lee Miller yet again displays some excellent nonverbal acting. Sherlock exudes annoyance and frustration during the whole episode, just like he has all season since his relapse. From that first exasperated sigh as he runs his hands over his face, the audience knows exactly how Sherlock feels about associating with his father. Earlier this season, Sherlock said he had learned to give second chances, so that sort of explains their begrudging partnership, but we still don’t have enough background information to understand completely. With Kitty last season, we did at least get a few flashbacks to flesh out their interactions.
Even though we are lacking in knowledge of their shared past, there is plenty of interactions in the present to analyze from this episode. The most interesting one is their conversation in the car, which was probably my personal favorite scene of the whole episode. Sherlock makes some snarky comments about “low T” and whether that has anything to do with Papa Holmes’ “late onset humanity.” Sherlock refuses to discuss the situation maturely and seriously, instead acting like a petulant child holding a grudge. The whole time Papa Holmes never exactly treats Sherlock poorly, certainly not in the way to deserve this manner of treatment. But the audience knows that there’s a reason Sherlock is so angry, even if we don’t know it yet. The contrast between the two of them is stunning and that scene is even better because of the setting. The car windows are blacked out with curtains, blocking them off from the rest of the world. It almost seems symbolic. Joan may try to intervene and such occasionally, but in all reality, the conflict is solely between the two of them. It’s scenes like this that give us more insight into Sherlock and Morland.
The case this time was different from usual. The audience and Sherlock learned the sniper’s identity early on, so the time was spent on figuring out motive and such. The twists were not bad and some were unexpected, but the whole case was treated very… clinically, for lack of a better word. A sniper picking people off on the streets of NYC is horrible and very unusual. But there wasn’t time to acknowledge that. I felt uncomfortable watching the opening scene, but none of our main characters seemed to react at all except with perfect professionalism. This just doesn’t seem to be the kind of case Elementary should focus on. The character work, at least, remains the strongest part of the show.
Extra Case Files
- My only complaint so far this season has been the lack of fun. I realize Sherlock is shaky right now after his disappointing relapse so it makes sense, but I do miss when he seemed to have fun solving mysteries.
- I’m really interested in what “danger” the Interpol guy wanted to warn Sherlock about. That should be exciting when that comes up again.
- Do you sometimes think John Noble is too good at playing evil?
- I appreciated Everyone making Sherlock wear that fancy cloak. A+ for them.
- I loved the callback to Sherlock’s taxi whistle once again. Such a nice touch.
So what did you think? Like it or hate it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.